July 26, 2016
Tristate Veterans Community Alliance releases veteran community report
The Tristate Veterans Community Alliance (TVCA), one of the community legacy projects founded in conjunction with Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game held in Cincinnati in 2015, released its first progress report on veterans’ issues, concerns and recommendations today. “Tristate Veteran Community Report: Progress, Outlook and Recommendations” builds upon the 2014 report by the Easter Seals Tristate.
The report, supported by Deloitte, includes an analysis of current data regarding veterans’ housing, education and employment opportunities, a report on progress made by the community over the last 2 years, and recommendations to better reach and serve veterans and their families. The complete report can be found and downloaded from the TVCA website at www.tristatevca.org.
All in all, there are 145,870 veterans living in the 16-county service area in the tristate representing 8.8% of the total population (1,652,598). Key findings from the report include, among others:
- While there are 4,637 unemployed veterans in the region, the overall unemployment rate for veterans is below that of non-veterans – an improvement since the last report. There are indications that underemployment is a growing concern.
- Significant progress has been made in reducing veteran homelessness, with Hamilton County seeing a 22% decline in the past two years. Only 6% of homeless veterans are considered chronically homeless – substantially lower than the national average of 24%.
- Veterans are more likely than nonveterans to have a high school diploma and some college but are significantly less likely to have attained a bachelor degree or higher. Data suggests that less than 50% of veterans have used their GI Bill benefits for a college education and, of those, nearly one-third are using them at for-profit institutions.
- There is a need to expand the services network into the six counties adjacent to Hamilton County, where more than 55% of the region’s veterans reside.
“Community leaders across the country are focused on attracting veterans to their regions and want to help ensure a successful transition to civilian life,” said Leonard Randolph, Jr., M.D., chairman of the board of directors of TVCA. “In order to do so, corporate and civic leadership throughout Greater Cincinnati must understand the unique challenges facing veterans and employ strategies to overcome these obstacles. TVCA will work closely with these partners to collaborative and communicate these important issues facing our veteran population.”
The study of the regional population of veterans shows that while there are many challenges facing veterans as they transition from military to civilian life, the community has significant capacity to respond to these concerns. However, additional focus on collaboration between providers, simplifying access, and encouraging more holistic approaches in the areas of employment, education and health are required.
To encourage greater transparency in sharing data and enabling a clear view of local needs, the TVCA has launched an interactive dashboard for veteran data across the 16-county region here. Data included represents demographic and socio-economic data related to health, employment and education and will serve as an open-source community resource.
Other recommendations in the report include:
- Greater collaboration among non-profit service organizations, employers, educators and government providers is needed.
- Implementing a comprehensive marketing and communications plan to heighten veteran’s awareness of available services, focusing on veterans within 12 months of separation.
- Developing a collaborative transition “accelerator” to successfully transition veterans to contributing community members as quickly and cost-effectively as possible.
- Standardize data capture and sharing across the veteran services network in the community, similar to the approach of the homeless continuum of care and other successful efforts.
- Foster further collaboration among philanthropic groups to target investments toward partnerships and data-driven interventions.